"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born ... and the day you find out why." -- Mark Twain
This quote is totally true for women. Getting clarity about your life's purpose is one of the most important and also most difficult exercises to be done. My life's purpose is to nurture and inspire others to reach for the stars. From the time I began working on this, it took about six months to get total clarity. However, once that happened I can honestly say that it provided me with the insight to leave my previous role as president of a printing company to start my own business working with women and men to focus on helping people be the best they can be.
So, what does it take to get clarity about your purpose? Following are some key elements to consider as you take the time to reflect on your life's purpose.
What are your strengths? Identify three to five strength activities. And not just things that you are good at, but activities that leave you feeling strong. Things you look forward to doing when you get up in the morning, and when you're done you feel energized and happy about doing them. And then, most important, are you spending as much time doing these things as you would like -- both at work and in your personal life?
Core Values? What are the three values that are at your core? It is easy to identify a number of values that we have; more difficult for some people to narrow it down to our three core values. It is relatively easy to be true to your values when things are going well. It can be much more difficult when you encounter a challenge to your core value(s). Staying true to your core values helps you stay true to your purpose.
Passion? What are the issues that you deeply care about? Things that you are constantly thinking about, reading about or Googling about online? Our passion doesn't have to be huge things that change the world; rather things that connect with our strengths and values. Another favorite quote of mine relates to this. Harold Whiteman said, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes YOU come alive. And then go out and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Once you've gotten clarity about the above items, put them together in a sentence and reflect and refine more to narrow your sentence down to your core purpose statement. It will be very helpful to discuss this with a mentor, family member and/or friend to help you get true clarity about this. As I said earlier, this is truly a powerful clarity for women to get in order to know how you want to spend your days and the legacy you want to leave to the world.
I leave you with this final quote by Oliver Wendall Holmes: "Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside, unplayed." Knowing your purpose and living the life you truly want to live will overcome this insight. Best wishes to you.
Ginny Wilson-Peters is widely recognized as a leadership expert. As president and owner of Integrity Integrated Inc., Ginny shares her expertise with others through coaching, teaching and consulting with business leaders locally and throughout the world. In addition to her work as a leadership development consultant, Ginny is a lecturer at the University of Iowa PMBA and Exec MBA programs and an active member of her community.